What It Takes

A Society, Culture and Arts podcast
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Best Episodes of What It Takes

These three writers used the power of their pens to expose and explore man's inhumanity to man.  You'll hear the presentations they gave at the Academy of Achievement's International Summits.  South African novelist and anti-Apartheid activist
On the morning of May 6th, 1954, Roger Bannister achieved what most people believed was not humanly possible: he ran a mile in  under four minutes. It is considered one of the greatest athletic achievements of all time, alongside Sir Edmund Hil
These two choreographers have pushed dance in bold new directions and brought it to a much wider audience. Both Twyla Tharp and Justin Peck are classically-trained dancers who have created works for the ballet, for Broadway, and for the movies.
Coach K, as Mike Krzyzewski is best known, has had more wins than any other men's basketball coach in the NCAA... by a long shot.  He's also the proud owner of three Olympic Gold Medals, from his time caching the  USA Men’s National Team. Well,
What makes us human? And how did we get here? It's only human to want to know. These two renowned paleo-anthropologists have unlocked enormous gaps in our origin story. Each of them discovered some of the most significant prehistoric bones ever
When the NBA playoffs come around each year, it's always worth revisiting the story of Bill Russell.  Russell was the force behind the most astonishing winning streak in the history of sports. His team, the Boston Celtics, won eleven NBA champi
A stunning assemblage of filmmakers who shaped cinema in the late 20th century: Francis Ford Coppola, Martin Scorsese, Robert DeNiro and Robert Zemeckis. Their personal journeys are inspiring, unlikely, and at times - painful. They tell the sto
Willie Mays was featured in one of our very first episodes. We're taking a second listen today, to celebrate the legendary center fielder's 90th birthday (on May 4th).Baseball fans may argue to this day about which was the best of Willie Mays’
There are only a handful of people who've won four Pulitzer Prizes. One of them is photo-journalist Carol Guzy. She has spent most of her life using her compassionate and creative eye to document the stories of people affected by violence, war
Khan Academy may be the most revolutionary tool created for learning since the advent of pencil and paper. It is a critical educational equalizer - providing  1,000's of free online lessons in math, science, reading, economics and more, accessi
One of these tycoons changed the way businesses collect and use data.  The other transformed television and created the 24 hour news cycle. One was born the son of a successful businessman.  The other was born the son of a single teen mother, w
Much of what we know about the universe, we've learned in the past 25 years. These three astrophysicists, all Nobel laureates, were key to unlocking some of its greatest mysteries, including that the universe is expanding at an ever-faster rate
From the time she was nine years old, she knew she wanted to be on Broadway, but Audra McDonald has succeeded beyond her wildest dreams. She has earned six Tony Awards, more than any other actor. She stars in movies and television shows and ope
In the past few weeks, the U.S. Postal Service issued a stamp honoring playwright August Wilson, and Netflix released a film version of Wilson's celebrated play, "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom."  It stars Viola Davis and Chadwick Boseman, in his fin
No one could shmooze quite like Larry King. He turned it into an art, and turned himself into a legendary broadcaster.  He often didn't prepare for his interviews (more than 50,000 over the course of his career), instead engaging in curious, ca
Babe Ruth's home run record held for almost four decades.  But then Hank Aaron came along and smashed it.  On the way to making baseball history, Aaron persevered through poverty, segregation, racism, and threats on his life.  He talks here abo
These two brave reporters risked their lives and their reputations during the war in Vietnam, to reveal the truth to the American people about what was happening there. Both describe here - how and when they realized the United States governmen
Most Americans simply could not believe their eyes this week, when a violent mob staged an insurrection in the US Capitol. It was the kind of thing that happens in other countries - where the transfer of power isn't peaceful, and where democrac
He's one of the greatest all-time directors of Shakespeare, and has directed every one of the Bard's plays. But he's also directed 34  shows on Broadway, including "Cats" and "Les Miserables", and more yet on London's West End.  Trevor Nunn has
There's no mistaking Judy Collins' voice. She sang us through the 1960's and '70's, and hasn't stopped since. Today at 81, her voice is still strong and gorgeous. It reveals no signs of the struggles she has survived: depression, alcoholism, po
Three remarkable novelists, from very different backgrounds, peel back the curtain on how they write, why they write, and what they write.  Arthur Golden is the author of Memoirs of a Geisha, the only book he's written, and a longtime bestselle
In celebration of painter Wayne Thiebaud's 100th birthday, we feature a conversation with the artist and with one of his most renowned students, Fritz Scholder. Thiebaud's paintings of pies, cupcakes, donuts, pinball machines and bowties - are
No one could work a room like Willie Brown. He was the consummate politician and public servant, and a true American original. He started life in a small, segregated Texas town, worked as a shoeshine boy and a janitor, but went on to dominate C
The best-known biographies of Presidents Lincoln, Adams, Eisenhower, Truman, Nixon were written by the three great historians featured here. They talk about their subjects as if they had gone back in time and arrived back, breathless, with stor
Louise Glück, winner of the 2020 Nobel Prize for Literature, uses simple, unsentimental language in her poems to evoke overwhelming emotions. That rare combination is what has distinguished her as one of America's greatest living poets for over
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